Back to Basics: How to Wrap Your Hands

You’re running late for class. You rush into TITLE Boxing Club and throw your bag into a locker, unravel your wraps and start flinging fabric around your hands. Is it under and around the knuckles or over and in between? Three wraps around the wrist or six? Before you know it you’re slapping the Velcro together and moving into warm up position. Good enough.

But wait! Wrapping your hands properly is important because it helps you avoid nasty knuckle scrapes and hand or wrist injuries from whacking the heavy bag.

Unless you’re like our friend at TITLE Boxing Club Cancun, famous for his 10-second hand wrapping, it’s going to take us all a minute or two to wrap our hands properly so our knuckles and wrists have lots of protection and security.

Let’s get back to the basics and learn how to wrap our hands for the first time (or fifth). Here’s a great video from TITLE Boxing Club Knoxville with Ashley showing you a basic hand wrap.

Michael from TITLE Boxing Club NYC shows you another hand wrap variation here.

Clearly, there’s no right way to wrap your hands; it’s all about personal preference and making sure you are protected in the wrists and knuckles. But, there is a wrong way! Never wrap your hands too tightly because you could cut off circulation which causes all sorts of bad things to happen. You should be able to make a fist comfortably and your hands should feel good inside your gloves. If they don’t, take the gloves off and try again. Now, go Hit it Hard!

Back to Basics: What to Eat Before Boxing or Kickboxing Class

Next in this month’s Back to Basics blog series: we want to know what snacks you eat before class! We really hope you have an answer to that question, and never take a class on an empty stomach. A light, healthy snack gives you the fuel you’ll need maintain the intensity throughout your entire workout.

We recommend a light (200-300 calorie) snack consisting of complex carbs and lean protein about 45-60 minutes before your class. Doing so will aid in muscle development. Research shows that if you work out on an empty stomach, about 10% of the calories burned will come from protein, which includes lost muscle. That sounds pretty terrible doesn’t it? Let’s avoid that scenario.

You’ll learn what works for your body over time, but try to stick to 200-300 calories per snack. Below are five quick and easy snack ideas that you can try before your next workout.

Banana

A banana is loaded with digestible carbohydrates and potassium (of course), which helps your body maintain nerve and muscle function.

Greek yogurt with fruit

Greek yogurt is packed with high-quality protein, which will carry you through your workout and beyond. Adding the fruit gives your body some quick fuel to burn during the workout.

Apple and peanut butter

An apple with a couple tablespoons of peanut butter is a tasty carb fuel-up that will keep you going,

Whole grain bread with turkey

Whole grain bread is an excellent source of complex carbohydrates, which will give you plenty of energy. Top it off with a couple of slices of lean turkey or hard boiled eggs for a protein boost.

Cottage cheese and fruit

Top a half cup of cottage cheese with some blueberries or pineapple for a quick supply of energy.

Don’t forget to drink plenty of water before and after your workout.

Now you might be wondering what to eat after your boxing workout.

After exercise, your body needs protein to recover. Eating the right protein after a workout provides amino acids to muscles, which are necessary for repair and growth. Try the following after your next workout.

  • chocolate milk
  • protein shake or bar
  • low fat string cheese
  • pita and hummus 

Note: Everyone’s body is different. What works for one person may not work for another. Experiment with your nutrition, hydration, and timing but do not consume processed junk foods before or after your workout.

Back to Basics: Why Boxing is the Workout that Works

This month, we’re getting back to the basics. We’re dropping our fad diets and lame workouts, putting away our excuses and wrapping up our hands for some good ol’ fashioned sweat sessions at TITLE. It’s easy to get wrapped up in what other people are trying in health and fitness, and we forget that results will only come when we put in the hard work. So, what makes boxing such a great workout? Let’s recap and get back to the basics.

Full Body Blast

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Ask anyone about his or her first class at TITLE Boxing Club and you’ll probably be met with something like “best workout ever,” or “kicked my butt.” Punching and kicking a 100 pound heavy bag is new for most people, and the intensity of making contact with the bag hundreds of times in a class works every part of your body. Plus, TITLE Boxing Club workouts including a 15-minute warm-up with callisthenic drills like jumping jacks, squat jumps, shadow boxing and high knees, all designed to work your entire body and get your heart rate up before the real deal begins.

Strengthens Your Core

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When you throw a proper punch or power into a kick, your entire core is engaged. You’re moving and twisting through the abdominals to fire strong, precise blows one after the other, meaning your midsection gets a serious workout. Plus, TITLE Boxing Club workouts include 15 minutes of core exercises at the end of class, so your midsection is engaged throughout the entire Power Hour, leading to impressive strength. Hello, abs, nice to finally meet you.

Improves Speed & Agility

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Watching a boxer move at lightening speed around the opponent is a thing of amazement. It’s all because of the reactive motions and footwork needed to follow a moving target while preparing to strike. With time (and some Personal Training mitt work!), your technique will improve, allowing you to naturally flow into a fast rhythm of punch or kick combinations. Plus you’ll notice improved hand-eye coordination, meaning better balance and agility – all good things for those of us who tend to feel athletically awkward!

Tones Without Bulking

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FOBU, “Fear of Bulking Up,” is real. Fine, we just made it up – but for some people, being toned and strong is more important than getting unrealistically huge. Welcome to boxing, my friends. There’s no better way to get long and lean arms and legs, because boxing targets your back, shoulders, arms, core, glutes, quads and calves. It leaves nothing out, and we love that.

Makes You Feel Better

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We all know that good exercise helps to decrease stress by increasing endorphins. And while a long, sweaty run outside on a beautiful day is always a good go-to, there’s something so gratifying about making physical contact with something and letting it all go. The stress of your job, home, and life in general is left on the bag with every jab, cross, hook and uppercut. Throw your punches and throw away your worries. Works every time.

Un-Boring Cardio

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If we have to spend another minute on a treadmill or elliptical staring at TV shows we can’t hear, we might lose it. Thanks to TITLE Boxing Club, the days of dreadful cardio are done. Boxing and kickboxing classes, by nature, safely increase your heart rate and burn calories steadily for the cardiovascular health benefits we need. Because of the intensity of class and the need to pay attention to the trainer shouting combinations, the rounds fly by and before you know it the hour is done and you’re feeling amazing.

Real Life Tips for Being a Morning Workout Person

Mornings are rough for all of us. But how do some manage to turn on their superhero powers and get out of their warm cozy bed to go workout? It’s all about being easy on your brain when it hasn’t even had a chance to wake up yet! Plan, prepare and leave your excuses on the pillow with these tips from the TITLE Boxing Club Marketing Team.

As a mom, Audrey knows the struggle of balancing your own routine with your family’s needs. Her practical ideas are invaluable:

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“Set two alarms – one by the bed and one that makes you actually get out of bed to turn it off on the other side of the room. Also, have everything ready to go like your gym bag, work clothes, kids clothes, lunches, water and snacks the night before. You can even pack some of your things in your car the night before so it’s less you need to grab in the morning.” – Audrey, Brand Manager

Brooke is a busy professional who is constantly on the go and traveling for work, so planning ahead is a priority. Here are some of her go-to methods.

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“Schedule your workouts ahead of time in your planner like you would any other appointment and make sure you keep it. Setting time aside for yourself and your health is key. Also, put your workout clothes by your bed the night before so you have one less thing to think about and create an excuse for in the morning.” – Brooke, Senior Director of Marketing

Planning a wedding on top of a demanding work schedule is a stressful reality for Jenna. Here are her tips for staying on track through busy times.

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“Plan your workouts with a friend or your significant other. You’d never bail on them for happy hour, so you won’t skip out on your workout plans either! Also, fall asleep (meaning no Instagram in bed) at least 8 hours before your alarm is set to go off. When it does, you’ll know lack of sleep isn’t an excuse for hitting snooze!” – Jenna, Digital Marketing Coordinator

5 (Funky) Fresh Ways to Spring Clean Your Workout Routine

The winter isn’t just rough on our skin and hair; our workout routines can suffer as well through the bitterly cold weather and short, dark days. It can make us seriously unambitious, prone to comfy clothes and Pinterest, and leaves us in a funk! The good news is the birds are chirping, the tulips are blooming and spring is right around the corner. So let’s talk about cleaning up our workout routines and getting back to our favorite healthy habits. (Yes—healthy habits can be your favorite!)

Plan Tonight for an Easy Tomorrow

Before you go to sleep, pick out your workout clothes and set them by your bed for an easy, no-excuses outfit that you can throw on when your alarm wakes you up early for that 5:00 a.m. Power Hour. It’s even smart to prep your water bottle, protein powder or snack with your gym bag the night before so you don’t forget anything when you have to get up and go.

Eat (a Big) Breakfast

Not a morning workout person? Begin your day early anyway and make a big, nutritious breakfast with protein that will kick-start your metabolism. Eating like a king or queen in the morning will give your body nourishment for the start of your jam-packed day, and help you stay energized until your evening workout.

Treat Yo-self

Warmer weather is as good an excuse as any to treat yourself to a new pair of workout pants, new Nikes or those TITLE boxing gloves you’ve been eyeing. New workout gear is one of the best ways to motivate yourself to get back into your routine and look great doing it!

Be a Tall Drink of Water

Don’t want to get up and turn off The Bachelor to do anything cardio related? Us, too. The lack of energy and willpower is real. But the solution is simple! Drink more water. (Think: probably a gallon more!) Not only does more water in your diet help your energy, but it also helps to beat the bloat. Hello, you tall drink of water, you! Plus, staying hydrated means you recover faster and you can get to your next TITLE class without any serious struggle. Take note: water down, power up!

Keep a Journal – For Real

“Has it really been two weeks since I’ve worked out?” We all know the feeling. Between work, family and relationships, we tend to forget that oh-so-important “me time.” Start keeping a journal or a list in your phone of all of your workouts. Accountability is key for progress!

It Takes Two: Partner workouts that rock

Everything is better when you do it together. When it comes to working out, having a partner means that you’re more likely to stick to it, stay into it, and achieve better results. So in honor of Valentine’s Week (yes, we’ve extended it to a whole week), grab your favorite gym partner and try one of these workouts that require two to work:

1.     Resistance bands

Using resistance bands with a partner provides two distinct benefits. The first is that you have more places to anchor it, and the second is that force can be applied in opposition to yours.

a.      Tricep extensions – Face your partner, right foot in front of the left, holding one end of an exercise band in your right hand while your partner holds the other in their left. Bend forward at your hips with your knees slightly bent, and contract your abs. Slowly straighten your arm to pull back the band, then return to start. Complete 12 reps, then switch arms and repeat.

b.     Band jumps – Stand in front of your partner, facing opposite directions. Loop the resistance band around your waist, with your partner holding one end in each hand, knees slightly bent, and hips slightly back for stability. Step forward until there’s light tension in the band. Jump forward as far as possible by bending your knees, hips back and core tight, exploding up and forward. Step back and repeat for 8 to 12 reps, then switch roles.

2.     Medicine Ball
Adding a medicine ball allows partners to pass and toss the ball back and forth, improving coordination and increasing muscle power more than can easily be done alone.

a.      Orbit twist & pass – Stand back to back with your partner. Holding the medicine ball in both hands, turn to your right while your partner turns left, and pass them the ball over your right shoulder. Then, turn to the opposite side and pass the ball back again, this time low by your left knee. Repeat for 10-15 reps, then switch directions, this time turning left first.

b.     Forward-backward lunges – Stand facing each other about one foot apart. Hold the medicine ball at chest height and step forward with your right foot. Simultaneously your partner will step backward with their left foot. Both of you will sink into a lunge by bending the front and back knees 90 degrees, keeping knees over ankles, back straight, and core tight. At the bottom of the lunge, pass the medicine ball to your partner before pushing off and returning to your starting positions. Now, switch feet and do it in reverse. Repeat for 8 to 12 reps, then change sides.

3.     Bodyweight
Partnering up means that not only do you have your own bodyweight to provide resistance, you have someone else’s to leverage as well.

a.      Wheelbarrow push-up squats – While your partner is in a high plank position, stand at their feet. Slowly take one of their feet in each hand until they’re in a “wheelbarrow” position. Simultaneously, while your partner bends at the elbows into a push-up, you lower into a squat with your back straight, core tight, and knees in line with ankles. As they pushes up to return to start position, you stands. Repeat for 8 to 12 reps, then switch roles.

b.     Roundhouse – Stand facing each other, 2 to 3 feet apart, with feet wider than shoulder-width apart and hands in fists next to chin. Bring your right foot in toward your left, then kicks right leg up and out while your partner squats low to duck under it. Switch roles as they kick their right leg up and over your low squat. Do 50 kicks total, switching legs halfway through.

Obviously, these are just a few of the things you can do with a partner that you can’t do by yourself. Try incorporating claps into solo moves, take turns doing things, or even start a friendly competition over who can go longer or do more. And the best part is you’ll probably be having more fun while you do it.

Valentine’s Dates for Fit Couples

They say that the couple that trains together, stays together. So why not save the cheat day and spend Valentine’s day bonding with your significant other over a shared workout? There’s a pretty good chance that your shared passion for fitness is a big part of why you’re together in the first place. This year, ditch the chocolate and wine and try one of these active Valentine’s Dates instead:

1.     Go for a run – Whether it’s on the road or on side-by-side treadmills, matching pace is great way to feel connected while you both get in some quality cardio.

2.     Share a class – Couple up for partners yoga, or if that’s not your thing, explore a new class together for the first time. Choose something challenging to let you bond through shared adversity.

3.     Team up for a game – Sports provide the perfect framework for a little playful competition. Try going love-love in a game of tennis or get one-on-one with a game of basketball, just don’t forget whose side you’ll want to be on later.

4.     Give each other a spot – Show that you can put up, with each other. Giving each other a spot while you lift let’s to work together, connect through physical contact, and be supportive both literally and figuratively.

5.     Get your groove on – Something fast paced like salsa dancing can get you hot at the same time it makes your muscles burn. Not only will moving your bodies together in rhythm feel sexy, it’s also a great aerobic workout.

6.     Take a hike – No seriously, get out of town and, weather permitting, out into the wilderness. Hiking, mountain biking or even rock climbing are great partner activities that work a wide variety of muscles and require you to work together on pathfinding and providing support.

7.     Throw down – Be a lover and a fighter with some time together in the ring. Boxing and kickboxing both give you an intense workout and can burn up to 1,000 calories* in a single session.

8.     Be cutting edge – Strap on a pair of ice skates and take some spins around the rink. You may be cold on the outside, but by the time you’re done you’ll be all warm and tingly on the inside.

Whatever you decide to do, just do it together. It’s all just about getting your hearts pumping right?

Quit the jiggle: 10 days to tighter thighs

Getting rid of a little thigh jiggle isn’t so easy, especially the inner thighs, which are an especially-hard-to-target problem area. But with the summer sun beating down and everybody in shorts and bathing suits, there’s never been a better time. Here’s our simple plan for getting one step closer to thinner thighs in the next 10 days.

1. Seated Bent Knee – 

Sitting with your hands pressed on the floor besides your hips, raise your knees in towards your body. Keep your knees touching and your toes pointed. Then, leaning slightly forward and contracting your abdominals, open your knees out to the sides, trailing your toes on the floor, and then bring your knees back together until they touch. That’s one rep. Repeat this exercise 20 times.

2. Wide Plie Squat –

Stand with your feet wider than shoulder-width apart and toes turned out. Holding your hands behind your head, tuck your pelvis, and slowly squat down until your knees are bent at ninety degrees (about a 4 second count). Then slowly lift yourself back up until your legs are straight again. Do this exercise for one minute.

3. Slimming Skaters – 

Start with feet together, toes forward, arms by your sides, keeping your head and neck straight ahead. Start by taking a wide ‘skate’ step with your right foot to the right side, then drag your left foot toward it, reaching your left arm forward while bringing your right elbow back, as if you were skating. Then, quickly change directions and repeat the movement on the opposite side. Repeat as many times as you can, alternating from left to right, for a total of one minute.

4. Thigh Raise – 

Lying face down, raise your legs from the waist, until your feet are a few inches off the ground. Bend your knees slightly, keeping them off the ground, and hold that position for five ­seconds. Slowly unbend your knees and, slowly lower your straight legs to the ground, then repeat, increasing the duration each time until you work up to15 seconds.

5. Frog Extensions –

Lie on your back with your arms relaxed on the ground beside you. Slowly raise your knees up towards your chest, contracting your abs. Turn your knees out to the sides and place your heels together. Now, extend your legs at a 45-degree angle. With both legs extended and turned outward, squeeze your knees together. Return to your starting position, maintaining the same 45-degree line on the way back. Repeat this movement 15 times.

6. Bottom Leg Lift –

Sit on the floor, with your left leg straight out and your right leg bent and crossed over your left. Now lift up your left (bottom) leg so that your foot is at least 6in off the ground. Hold for ten seconds, then slowly lower your leg. Repeat on the other side.

Combine these exercises with a good diet and a regular workout regimen of cardio and strength training, and you’ll be on your way in no time.

The REAL skinny on protein

It seems like these days protein is everywhere: protein shakes, protein bars, protein-enriched foods. But most of us are left scratching our heads as to how much we need and why. The why is actually pretty easy — protein protects our bodies against lean muscle loss. Oddly enough, the human body processes protein in your muscles for energy long before it starts breaking down the fat that you’re trying so hard to lose. Now as to how much, we’ve put together our best advice on the right way to incorporate protein into your workout:

1.  By the numbers. Your first step to incorporating protein is figuring out what your daily protein consumption should be. How much protein you need is based on how much you weigh and how active you are.

Step 1: Divide your weight in pounds by 2.2 to figure out your weight in kilograms
Step 2: For rest days, multiply your weight in kilograms X 0.8 to get the amount (in grams) of protein you should be eating to maintain muscle mass. On cardio days, you’ll multiply by 1.2 and on strength training days you can multiply by 1.6

2.  The old-fashioned way. Before you start supplementing your protein intake, look at the foods that you’re already eating. For most people, their daily protein requirements are more than met by a healthy, well-balanced diet.

3. Time to supplement. If your protein needs (based on the math) are greater than what you’re eating, protein supplements might be the easiest way to get your added nutrition. Bars, pills or shakes, what matters most is the type and amount of protein you’re getting, not the form it comes in.

4.  Know your protein. Your best bet for supplementing is to consume “complete” proteins like whey, casein and soy. Whey and casein come from milk and are easily absorbed by the body. Soy proteins contain all 9 essential amino acids and are a great alternative for people vegans and people who don’t tolerate milk.

5.  Spread it out. To maximize your body’s ability to digest, absorb and use protein, distributing it evenly throughout your meals and snacks. Just take your daily total and divide it by the number of meals and snacks you eat daily.

6.  After a workout. Have a high-protein snack in the first half-hour to hour after exercise. This is the best way to speed important nutrients back to sensitive muscles so they can repair and grow.

7. Pairing with carbs. Especially after cardio, protein may not be enough to help you recover. The protein itself will help repair the muscle, you’ll need carbs to replenish the energy that your body stores there.

Before we go, I just want to say one more time that as important as protein is, you shouldn’t fall for the hype. All of the new protein products on the market are just different and sometimes tastier or more convenient ways of getting the same kind of natural nutrition available in food. So as long as you’re getting the protein your body needs to sustain it, no matter what the source, you’ll be good to go.

What’s all the flap about: How to get sculpted arms fast

Tight, toned arms are the key to looking good in…well…anything in the summertime. And the hardest part to hit is that trouble area right in the back of the arms. If you plan to ditch the jiggle, you’re going to need exercises that specifically target your biceps, triceps and delts. These simple exercises are the quickest way to great looking arms you’ll be excited to show off:

1. Triceps Dip –

Think of this as a reverse push up. Sit down on the floor with your feet and legs together, feet flat, and knees bent. Place your hands shoulder distance apart, a foot behind your butt, fingers forward. Lift yourself off the ground by straightening your arms. Then, bend your arms and lower your butt as close to the ground as you can without actually touching it. Start off with 2 sets of 10 reps, and work your way up to 20 reps per set.

2. Triangle Push Up –

Like a standard pushup, the triangle pushup can be performed on your knees or toes. But, rather than aligning your arms beneath your shoulders, use your fingers to form a triangle directly under your chest. Focus on keeping your core stable and your body straight as you lower yourself to the ground and back to the starting position. Repeat for 10 reps.

3. Shadowboxing With Weights – 

Using weights (we recommend 2-3 lbs), stand with your feet hip-width apart. Slowly raise your left fist as high as you can in an uppercut motion.  Then, punch with your right arm while lowering your left. Repeat this motion for 60 seconds, gradually increasing speed.

4. 90-Degree Tricep Extensions – 

For this exercise, grab a pair of 1-2 lb weights, and lie on your back with your knees bent.  Raise your arms straight above your chest, with your elbows slightly bent (don’t lock them). Now, slowly bend your elbows into a 90-degree angle, until the weights touch the floor next to your head. Lift back up. Repeat this 10-15 times.

5. Triceps Kickback –

This is a tough one. Grab a pair of 1-2 lb weights and lean forward from your hips, until your body is at a 45-degree angle. Make sure your back is straight, and your feet are shoulder-width apart. Raise your elbows back so that the weights hang at about chest level. Keep your elbows close to your body, extend your arms out behind you, until they are straight. Return back to the starting position to complete the rep. Repeat for 60 seconds.

Dedicate just 20-30 minutes each day to doing these exercises, and your upper body as a whole will become stronger and your arms more defined. Pair them with 30 minutes of cardio and a good diet, you should start to notice results in as little as a few weeks.